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Q&A with ecommerce curriculum developer Maria Chugunova

Businesses owners looking to elevate their online presence can now access a suite of new Vancouver Community College (VCC) Continuing Studies courses specializing in ecommerce. Learn more from VCC ecommerce curriculum developer Maria Chugunova.

How did you learn the trade?

I began my career in marketing 10 years ago as part of a co-op during my university commerce degree. My first exposure to “real world” marketing put me in charge of building an industrial catalogue with a budget of $500K. I was lucky to be trusted so early in my career. Next, I worked as a coordinator for a marketing department and was able to try different aspects of marketing – pay-per-click (PPC), search engine optimization (SEO), analytics, and even radio/TV.

I spent a few years building campaigns in search, programmatic, and social, and for the last five years, I ran the digital marketing team for an agency. My current role involves building out business-to-consumer operations for a business-to-business company. I do everything from defining a brand to building a website to vetting warehouses and fulfillment software.

What is your best piece of advice for someone starting in this industry?

Try a little bit of everything. Marketing has so many areas for specialization; it is hard to commit to something until you experience most of them.

How has your role in the ecommerce industry contributed to the development of these courses?

I have been in the students’ shoes, not sure exactly where to start or how to approach the build of an ecommerce store. It is a complex machine, and the amount of advice and information out there can be overwhelming. While developing this course, I was able to reflect on my own experience.

My goal was that when students complete the course, they know the most useful tools to start and grow in the ecommerce field.

What has been the most fulfilling part of developing this program area?

I’m very passionate about digital marketing and ecommerce so the ability to share everything I have learned with those interested in pursuing a career in this field was very fulfilling!

What would people be surprised to know about working in ecommerce?

The number of tools and applications available to automate, improve, and test customer experience and contact. There is so much technology developed to streamline customers’ experiences and various points in the purchase lifecycle.

What do you think is the future of this job?

I think ecommerce is having its rock-star moment. Companies are starting to understand its value, and as stores become more and more accessible online, the need for ecommerce skills is higher than it ever has ever been.